K.E. Fleming’s Greece—A Jewish History (Princeton, 2008) won the 2008 National Jewish Book Award in the category of Sephardic Culture. The work is the first comprehensive English-language history of Greek Jews and the only history that includes material on their diaspora in Israel and the United States.
Fleming, a professor in New York University’s history department, directs the A.S. Onassis Program in Hellenic Studies. Her other published works include A Faithful Sea: The Religious Cultures of the Mediterranean, 1200-1700 (Oneworld, 2007), a co-edited volume, and The Muslim Bonaparte: Diplomacy and Orientalism in Ali Pasha’s Greece (Princeton, 1999).
Two other books by NYU faculty were award finalists.
Iraq’s Last Jews: Stories of Daily Life, Upheaval, and Escape from Modern Babylon (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008), co-edited by Dennis Shasha, a professor in the Department of Computer Science in NYU’s Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, was a finalist in the category of Sephardic Culture. The work’s other co-editors are Dennis’ brother, Robert, and journalist Tamar Morad. The book is a collection of first-person accounts of Iraqi Jews about their lives in Iraq’s once-vibrant, 2,500 year-old Jewish community.
Dominican Haven: The Jewish Refugee Settlement in Sosúa, 1940-1945 (Museum of Jewish Heritage, 2008), authored by Marion Kaplan, a professor in the Department of Hebrew and Judaic Studies, was a finalist in the category of Holocaust Studies. In 1938, a time when safe havens for Jewish refugees were hard to find, the government of the Dominican Republic offered to resettle up to 100,000 Jews. Kaplan recounts how Sosúa, an abandoned banana plantation on the north coast of the island, became a refuge to hundreds of Jews beginning two years later.
The winners of the 2008 National Jewish Book Awards will be honored on March 5 at a ceremony at the Center for Jewish History in Manhattan.